Deer, Antelope … May 3, 2012


Home, home on the range,

Where the deer and the antelope …

I must tell you a secret. (Actually, if I’m sharing with thousands of people on the Internet, it is no longer a secret, but rather, a perceived private thought.) I have been in Antelope Valley for four days now and I have seen … NO antelope. Now, I am not trying to accuse the Chamber of Commerce of some mass conspiracy to defraud the public about meandering wildlife, but no antelope have come before my eyes. And I’m also beginning to seriously doubt that I am actually in a valley. But rather than becoming cynical about the poor choice of name for this region, I have chosen to believe that for some bizarre explanation, the antelope are protesting.

After all, it is not easy to be an antelope. Basically, you are just as functional and attractive as a deer, but they get all the press. After all, they have Bambi. There’s no movie out about Antwerp, the Crusading Antelope who leaps through the woods trying to prevent deforestation. Why do people prefer deer to antelope? Here’s a piece of propaganda–deer supposedly have antlers, but antelope have horns. And after all, once we establish that any creature is “horny,” we are riddled with suspicion. Those things protruding on both of their heads are the same stuff–the only difference being that the antlers seem to rise to the sky and the antelope’s efforts curve. This is apparently distasteful. So deer are “oohed and ahhed” over and antelope are basically treated like some sort of mutant goat.

That would be enough to upset any antelope–and then, along comes this misleading song about life on the range. In this anthem, deer and antelope are portrayed as “playing.” Now, the deer will survive this slight–being trivialized–but the antelope, who are already suffering from the public relations “Horn of Unplenty” are left looking like  twisted, misshapen deer who just want to fool around.

It is so upsetting to the more religious antelope from the First United Antelopians that they have insisted that the words of the song, Home on the Range, be changed to “…where the deer and the antelope PRAY.” It may be a bit too sacred, but it certainly escapes the frivolity of presenting the species as lackluster and lazy, frolicking through the woods, purposeless. The Antelopians have decided to pray that the word “pray” will be placed into the song instead of the word “play,” preying on their reputation. (How about THAT sentence??)

Another group of antelope, with a more political bend, has decided to lobby for changing the song to “…where the deer and the antelope PAY”–a protest over high taxes and rising prices, which are debilitating the local economy.

Any way you look at it, the antelope must be extremely upset to miss an opportunity to show up in a community which has actually honored them by naming its valley after their sake. So what do YOU think? Do you favor the more pious rendition, where “the deer and the antelope pray?” God knows, we need more prayer. (Wait a second … Does God know we need more prayer? Is God really looking to increase His work load? Isn’t that what more prayer would put upon Him? And what would an antelope pray? Is God really supposed to interrupt His day to hear supplications about the need for more berries? Or… “why are my horns crooked, and not pointing to heaven?” I’m sorry. I digress.)

Or do you swing more towards the politically bent antelope, who want to protest high taxation? Where “the deer and the antelope pay“? (Their problem is actually quite human. They do not understand why taxes are being levied on middle-class antelope when it’s obvious from the economy directly above them that there are creatures “squirreling it away”…)

For I will tell you this. The antelope are fed up with “never hearing a discouraging word” and they just can’t figure out what it means…”and the skies are not cloudy all day.”

Maybe that’s it. Maybe the whole song is just faulty and should never have been recorded in the first place. Maybe the guy who wrote the song never saw a deer and certainly never followed an antelope around to find out the extent of its daily activity, and just rendered them “playful” instead of “prayerful” or just good-paying citizens.

Whatever the reason, there are no antelope in sight. (I actually haven’t seen any deer, either.)

Let me suggest a more appropriate name for this region: Cactus Valley. Another possibility: Blowing Dust Valley.

Although I have to say … I am still a little bit dubious that there’s a valley anywhere nearby.


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